A Senate panel approved a funding boost for the Department of Transportation (DOT) on Thursday, moving ahead with spending plans that reject what President Trump had envisioned for the agency.
The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously backed legislation that would provide nearly $19.5 billion in discretionary funding for the DOT in fiscal 2018 — which is $978 million above current levels and nearly $3.3 billion more than what Trump requested.
Across the Capitol, the House spending panel passed a bill that would cut DOT’s budget by $646 million, for a 3.7 percent decrease.
The Senate bill also would provide $550 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program, which would be a $50 million increase.
The program was set up by the Obama administration’s 2009 economic stimulus package to provide an extra injection of cash for surface transportation projects, but it was never authorized by Congress. The grants are a popular funding tool among cities and states because of their wide range of eligibility.
Trump proposed killing the program in his budget request, which the House followed through with in their spending bill.
But Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsGOP senators: House agreeing to go to conference on ObamaCare repeal Key senator backs ‘skinny’ ObamaCare repeal Senate panel approves funding boost for Transportation Department MORE (R-Maine), who chairs the Senate subcommittee on transportation and housing, said it was important to increase funding for the grant program given the poor condition of the nation’s infrastructure.
She was heard on a hot mic earlier in the week calling the administration’s approach to its budget proposal “incredibly irresponsible.”
“This bill rejects the shortsighted budget that was put forward by President Trump,” Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Tech: Driverless car bill advances in House | Bezos now world’s richest person | Tech groups hail new email privacy bill